Vatican City: Pope Francis opened a synod Sunday to champion the Amazon’s poverty-stricken and isolated indigenous communities by condemning the destructive “interests” he blamed for the fires that devastated the region. “The fire set by interests that destroy, like the fire that recently devastated Amazonia, is not the fire of the Gospel,” he said before the bishops from the nine countries of the pan-Amazonian region and representatives of indigenous peoples. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince Salman ‘snubbed’ Pak PM Imran, recalled his private jet from US: Report”The fire of God is warmth that attracts and gathers into unity. It is fed by sharing, not by profits. “The fire that destroys, on the other hand, blazes up when people want to promote only their own ideas, form their own group, wipe out differences in the attempt to make everyone and everything uniform.” The global spotlight has recently been on the world’s largest rainforest, which is vital for the planet but is suffering from its worst outbreak of fires in years, due in part to an acceleration in deforestation. The working document for the synod denounced in scathing terms social injustices and crimes, including murders, and suggested a Church action plan. “Listen to the cry of ‘Mother Earth’, assaulted and seriously wounded by the economic model of predatory and ecocidal development… which kills and plunders, destroys and devastates, expels and discards,” the 80-page document said.
Mumbai: The post-budget measures announced by the government and the ongoing festive season have renewed the hopes of alloy major JSW Steel of better days ahead, though it still remains cautious on investing in new mines. Since the past few quarters, the steel sector has been hit badly due to the slowdown in real estate, auto and infrastructure sectors. The long and extended monsoon season also played a large role in dampening demand. “Demand slump is quite evident from the numbers given by the joint plant committee for the first half of the fiscal and it has been going down month after month. We are seeing demand slump not only from the auto industry but also from other key sectors like realty, infrastructure and general engineering,” JSW Steel joint managing director and group chief financial officer Seshagiri Rao told PTI. Also Read – Commercial vehicle sales to remain subdued in current fiscal: IcraHowever, he is hopeful that the series of initiatives announced by the government since the budget that roiled the sentiment for almost every sector, and the ongoing festive season can improve the sentiment, and thus the second half should be better. Rao also blames the extended and heavy rains for the demand slowdown as the construction sector has come to a standstill. “Given the recent government initiatives coupled with the Reserve Bank slashing key rates for the fifth time in a row, the second half should be better. However so far we have not seen anything moving on the ground due to the extended monsoons,” Rao says. Also Read – Ashok Leyland stock tanks over 5 pc as co plans to suspend production for up to 15 daysHe, however, notes that though the sentiment may improve, the credit flow into the system will take some more time. Welcoming the recent NMDC decision to renew the leases of the Donimalai mines in Karnataka, he says this will augment iron ore supply to the raw material starved steel plants in the state. The company has one of its largest facilities in the state. “We see this as a positive move as it will enhance the supply benefitting the iron ore starved sponge iron/ pellet/steel plants in Karnataka,” he says. Asked if the company is changing its strategy towards the upcoming Odisha mine auctions, he said that “we will continue to be cautious and not aggressive in our bidding.” “We have given a guidance of 1.5 per cent growth this year so we haven’t anticipated a big growth in our production or sales numbers,” he says when asked whether they will revisit its production targets and guidance for the fiscal. The company has set a target to increase its crude steel production and saleable steel sales to 16.95 million tonne and 16 million tonne, a rise of 1.5 per cent over FY2018-19, respectively.
Lucknow: Four-time MP from Azamgarh Ramakant Yadav joined the Samajwadi Party on Sunday, days after he was expelled from the Congress for “anti-party” activities.The 62-year-old leader, who joined the SP in presence of party chief Akhilesh Yadav, said “this is my home coming after 15 years”. Welcoming him to the party fold, Akhilesh Yadav said his presence will strengthen the SP. “People are joining the party and we will ensure that our Samajwadi Party grows and uproots the BJP government from power in 2022,” Akhilesh Yadav said. Also Read – Personal life needs to be respected: Cong on reports of Rahul’s visit abroadRukmini Devi Nishad, sister of slain party MP Phoolan Devi, and a number of BSP leaders also joined the Samajwadi Party on Sunday. The Congress expelled Ramakant Yadav last week over news reports that he would be joining the SP. Ramakant Yadav fought the 2014 Lok Sabha election from Azamgarh on a BJP ticket, but lost the seat to SP founder Mulayam Singh Yadav. He quit the BJP, which he joined in 2008, and switched to the Congress earlier this year. He had left the SP in 2004 to join the Bahujan Samaj Party. Ramakant Yadav made his debut in the Lok Sabha from Azamgarh seat in 1996 on a SP ticket and again won the constituency in 1999. He won the 2004 parliamentary elections to the seat on a BSP ticket and later in 2009 for the BJP.
New Delhi: Mobile operators Reliance Jio and Vodafone Idea have paid about Rs 94 crore (combined) to the Department of Telecom towards spectrum dues in September, an official source said. Vodafone Idea has made a payment of Rs 54.52 crore, while the amount paid by Reliance Jio stood at about Rs 39.1 crore, the source added. The payments, which are towards deferred spectrum dues from the telecom companies, came on time. Email sent to Reliance Jio was unanswered, while Vodafone Idea spokesperson said that the company does not comment on matters that are business as usual. Also Read – Commercial vehicle sales to remain subdued in current fiscal: IcraThe government, in March last year, enhanced the number of annual instalments for spectrum payment from 10 to 16 years to provide relief to the debt-laden telecom sector. But with the sector reeling under acute financial stress, Vodafone Group Chairman Gerard Kleisterlee and CEO Nick Read recently met Telecom Secretary Anshu Prakash, as the company sought a two-year moratorium on deferred spectrum payments, and other relief measures from the government. The British telecom giant asserted that it is focused on the successful integration of business between Vodafone and Idea. The telecom sector has been battered by falling tariffs, eroding profitability and mounting debt in the face of stiff competition triggered by disruptive offerings of Reliance Jio, owned by Mukesh Ambani.
New Delhi: Bringing an ordinance to ban e-cigarettes was an urgency as vaping was turning into an epidemic amongst the youth and allowing such products would have seriously undermined the government’s tobacco control efforts, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said.Voicing confidence that the ban on e-cigarettes will be highly effective as the consumer base is small at present, he said taking the ordinance route was an approach to nip the problem in the bud. Also Read – Personal life needs to be respected: Cong on reports of Rahul’s visit abroadOn September 18, the government issued an ordinance making the manufacturing, production, import, export, distribution, transport, sale, storage or advertisements of such alternative smoking devices a cognizable offence, attracting jail term and fine. “The success of ban depends upon the size of consumer base. Larger the size, lesser is the success rate of a ban…e-cigarettes have a small consumer base and bans will be highly effective,” the minister told PTI in an exclusive interview. Also Read – Firms staying closed 10 days a month due to recession, govt doing nothing: Priyanka GandhiOnly 4 per cent of population in India smokes cigarettes. The other 96 per cent, especially youth and adolescents are at risk of nicotine addiction through use of e-cigarettes. “ENDS have a net negative impact on public health, hence the ban,” he said, adding aggressive steps are necessary against these products that risk exposing a new generation of young people to nicotine. Quoting Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS 2) 2016-17, Vardhan said there are 270 million adult tobacco users in India who require their nicotine fix many times in a day while an estimated 0.02 per cent Indian adults use e-cigarettes. The minister explained that Electronic Nicotine Delivery Sytems (ENDS) like e-cigarettes are “common among never-smokers” who use these products as means of recreation. When used by those who have never smoked conventional cigarettes before, these are known to be a gateway products leading to tobacco use and potentially other drugs’ use. “When used by current smokers, it only prolongs their nicotine dependence and deprives them a chance of an addiction-free life. Moreover, it is likely to revive the declining smoking rates by luring former smokers to re-initiate nicotine dependence,” Vardhan said. The minister further said India had 53 million adult cigarette smokers in 2016 (GATS-2, 2016), making it a “lucrative market for firms such as Juul and Philip Morris International” for introduction of these alternative means “to not only sustain nicotine dependence among current smokers in the name of harm reduction but also to target new customers by creating the perception that e-cigarettes are “safe”.